Today I finally have my head above water, unlike the citizens of New Orleans, whose heads were held under by our federal government just long enough to drown. Jonno and I still can’t get through to each other by phone (cell or land line), but we’ve somehow been able to leave messages for each other almost every day, and of course his cell phone company is totally able to text message him his bill. Site managing Fleshbot has been unbeleivably stressful, not just due to exacting editorial stress getting 12 posts a day up on a major media site, the low low pay (couldn’t survive on it if I had to), the two book deadlines I missed (and the upcoming one in November), or the fear of inarguable suffering inflicted on a friend I love very very much (my Jonno).
Porn blogging during a disaster is painful, stupid and wrong. But it is also bizarrely right. It tore me to shreds to not hear from Jonno for days, to watch Anderson Cooper unravel, hear the mayor of New Orleans cry in anger and helpessness, and *still* get emails about Lindsay Lohan’s lesbian leanings. I didn’t give a fuck about Beyonce’s nipple slip before, and now I hate misspelled porn press releases offering me as an “esteemed journalist” a trip to the set of “choke on monster black cocks #5” more than ever. (Not a real title, though similar to the actual. Mmm, I bet the craft services on that one were sublime.) At the same time, I’ve helped keep my friend’s site running (who is now a disaster refugee of sorts, one of the few with a job to return to) and hopefully provided those watching Fleshbot several much-needed sex positive distractions, maybe even a few moments of pleasure as we learn to live with pain and shame that isn’t going away for a long time.
I don’t know. I felt utterly worthless crying at my keyboard last week, and outrageously angry. I wrote harsh words on Fleshbot about the porn industry’s inactivity that were removed. Many people emailed in support for Jonno, Fleshbot, myself, but the continual flood of porn promotion into my inbox and lack of activity by people in porn made me insane. I was told that maybe the adult industry was slow to react because they were stunned; don’t tell me that when I’m updating and changing a site over a dozen times a day and managing to hit my own as well. I didn’t need to be scared to know that the people in NO were scared. I don’t need to know any disaster victims to imagine their grief and wish to help them, but I DO. In the light of this, the signifigance of porn blogging, of making porn, only adds to a scream to the universe of everyone unable to help, to do something, and yes, it makes me turn and ask, okay, so what the fuck *are* you doing? Nothing? Then go away.
Maybe it’s silly, childish to think that people who make Girls Gone Wild would care. Anne Rice wrote in the New York Times*;
“But to my country I want to say this: During this crisis you failed us. You looked down on us; you dismissed our victims; you dismissed us. You want our Jazz Fest, you want our Mardi Gras, you want our cooking and our music. Then when you saw us in real trouble, when you saw a tiny minority preying on the weak among us, you called us “Sin City,” and turned your backs.
Well, we are a lot more than all that. And though we may seem the most exotic, the most atmospheric and, at times, the most downtrodden part of this land, we are still part of it. We are Americans. We are you.”
Which explains why I overstepped my emotional bounds, and got edited. Or not. The question I struggle with, even today, is what am I doing, how am I helping anything by porn blogging? It goes against my nature to post a celebrity nipple slip unless I think it’s giving someone somewhere a monent of reprise from the insanity, or maybe what I wrote today about hoping the Bush administration has a doomsday gene that can be activated by the push of a button (in the context of a porn review) can give a little levity, a little sanity, if only to me. Because this week, I seem to be writing with the filter off. Maybe they will keep me at Gawker, maybe they will not. As with everything in the history of my entire life, I still have nothing to lose.
It is impossible for me to just sit here and look at porn all day. Many porn detractors will say that Fleshbot is not a contribution to culture, but another wrong that needs to be righted, and anyone who enjoys it is sick and wrong, and doing so during a national crisis is evil. This is what the conservative christian family values voices in my head tell me, that is when they’re not telling others to go on killing sprees — or to go golfing after Hurricane Katrina. I’m not listening. Because I’m moving forward with heart, conscience and I’m trying with every ounce to put this whole damn thing in persepctive in every word I write. It’s all I can do.
Which is insanely frustrating to a girl who usually feels like she can do anything. I build and operate giant renegade machines. When something breaks, I fix it. I have no family; I have survived. I was a ward of the state who escaped on my 14th birthday, and lived as a homeless teen almost until I turned 18. Looking at NO, I instantly got what was happening when the homeless, the poor, the drug addicts with no fix were trapped without food and water among subruban families and residents with no way out — and there were many, as there are in every city. More so in a city with no harsh winters. I remember what it was like when Regan cut social services funding and released all the crazy people onto the streets with no shelters to take them in; I was there with a bunch of other young kids who’d been beaten and abused all their lives and were hard as nails at 14, and having to protect ourselves and find food and shelter and water day after day with all these dangerous crazies roaming around. You can’t just go stay with friends for a while or get a hotel room. It is your life, and no one from the state or government will help you because they don’t understand. People help you — by literally saving your life sometimes, by risking everything to make a difference, by dying, by keeping life in context, and yes, by totally losing it and saying something about it all (like Cooper, Rivera, Nagin, Kane…).
On saturday I had friends over at my house, to get very drunk and come together. (That explains the pictures in this post; above group is Paul Festa, myself, Polly Enmity and Arlo Tolesco all from Best Sex Writing 2005.) We did, and had a few former NOLA residents among us, one a NO native whose sister lost everything. And in the morning, the envelope I’d left out on a table labeled “American Red Cross” had $300 in it, and I had a few emails from hungover pals with drunkenly forgotten, but forthcoming checks.
* If NY Times asks for a password or registration, just clear any cookies with “nytimes’ on them.
The post Porn blogging: A rant appeared first on Violet Blue ® | Open Source Sex.